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Pody gets to work in state Senate

Jared Felkins • Updated Jan 11, 2018 at 9:00 AM

It didn’t take long for state Sen. Mark Pody to get down to work Tuesday in the state Senate. 

After defeating Democrat Mary Alice Carfi by 308 votes in a special election to fill the District 17 Senate seat in December, Pody, R-Lebanon, was sworn in Tuesday and handed three new committee appointments in the Senate, including a leadership role as vice-chairman of the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.  

“I am honored to serve on these Senate committees this session,” said Pody. “The committee process is an important part in passing legislation, and I will work to represent the counties of Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith and Wilson well in these committees.”

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, announced the vice-chairmanship appointment late Tuesday, in addition to his appointment to the Transportation and Safety Committee and the Government Operations Committee.

“Sen. Pody has significant legislative experience from his time in the House,” said McNally. “I look forward to him hitting the ground running with these new assignments.”

The Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee’s scope includes review of legislation that pertains to Tennessee’s hunting and fishing laws, state parks, energy conservation, agriculture, preservation of natural resources and fostering the state’s tourism industry.

The Senate Transportation and Safety Committee is responsible for highways, roads and bridges; railroads; air, bus and vehicular transportation; rules and regulations for highways, and facilities in connection with and navigation of waterways, lakes and streams; and the Department of Safety.

The Senate Government Operations Committee is generally perceived as one of the most powerful in the General Assembly as it oversees legislation to create, reauthorize, reorganize or sunset departments, commissions, boards, agencies or councils of state government. The committee also hears bills regarding licensing and/or certification of occupational and/or professional groups and reviews regulations promulgated by all Tennessee departments, commissions, boards or agencies.

The special election was held in December after Mae Beavers resigned as District 17 state senator to focus on her run for governor. Two other resigning senators, Doug Overbey and Jim Tracy, accepted presidential appointments.

“I am proud the Senate’s superior membership caught the attention of our president. As a result, new members will now have the opportunity to take on new challenges,” McNally said. “Matching the talents and skills of our members with the proper committee assignments is one of the most important duties I have as speaker of the Senate. Any one of our members could serve in almost any capacity in the Senate and achieve success. We are lucky to have such a wealth of talent in the state Senate. Tennessee’s success is not a matter of luck. It is the result of the right people being in the right places to make the right decisions. Our already strong team will be made even stronger with these changes.”

Other notable changes include the appointment of Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, as chairman of the Ethics Committee, replacing former Overbey. Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, will take over as chairman of the Calendar Committee.

Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, will serve as second vice chair of the Finance, Ways and Means and Labor Committee. Sen. John Lundberg, R-Bristol, moves to first vice chair of the Judiciary Committee.

New Senate member Sen. Art Swann, R-Maryville, will serve as first vice chair of the Transportation Committee.

Also of note, Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, will serve on the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, will join the Commerce and Labor Committee. Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, will move to the Ethics Committee.

All standing committee chairmen will remain the same. The speaker pro tempore will be appointed later, McNally said.

The Senate has nine standing committees and four select committees, which include Commerce and Labor; Education; Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources; Finance, Ways and Means; Health and Welfare; Government Operations, Judiciary; State and Local Government; Transportation and Safety; Ethics; Delayed Bills; Rules; and Calendar.

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